Today the Melissa Harris-Perry show on MSNBC raised the bar on
the national media’s presentation of trans issues. Across two segments,
Harris-Perry devoted almost an hour to trans activism: it was the first
time I’ve seen that kind of time devoted to trans issues without solely
focusing on the narrative of one individual. In the first segment,
Harris-Perry and her panelists, including the wonderful Kate Bornstein, discuss the intersection of identity politics and activism.
But, for me, the most amazing part of the show is right at the
beginning, when Melissa Harris-Perry comes out as cisgender. What a
watershed moment! I don’t think cisgender has ever been defined on
national TV, and it was so refreshing to see the definition coming from a
cisgendered person instead of an “educating” transperson. In her
introductory remarks, she said:
I’m black. I’m a woman. And I’m cis… being cis means that
the sex of the body I was born with, the gender I was assigned at
birth, and my personal identity all match. And being cis does not make
me “normal” or “natural”; it just makes me, well, cis.
You can watch the first trans-related segment of the show below:
On the second trans-related segment of the show, Harris-Perry and her
panelists discussed the Obama Administration’s inconsistent application
of LGBT anti-discrimination policy. While the U.S. Housing and Urban
Development Department (HUD) issued a rule barring LGBT housing
discrimination by any landlord or entity handling HUD funds, the White
House will not currently sign an executive order requiring federal
contractors to follow a similar LGBT employment discrimination policy.
If you’d like, you can read the new HUD rule.
What’s so amazing about this rule is that it not only bans those
receiving HUD funds from discriminating against housing applicants on
the basis of perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, it bans
both those who have FHA loans and FHA lenders from doing the same thing.
Here’s the second segment of the Melissa Harris-Perry show discussion of trans issues, focusing on the new HUD rule:
Thank you, Melissa Harris-Perry, for hosting intelligent, in-depth conversations about trans realities and politics.